Can you start a sentence with ‘because’?

Avoiding starting a sentence with because is arguably one of the sillier grammar rules out there. Bizarrely, though, it is one of the ones that a lot of people pick on if you get it wrong. One of the main arguments against using because at the beginning of a sentence is that it’s not “proper” grammar. Okay, so there is an element of truth about that: often, when writers start a sentence with because, they use it incorrectly, ending up with an incomplete sentence and stilted reading flow. However, if used correctly, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting a sentence with because, as it can actually make the sentence a little more impactful, especially if you want to make a point.

We’ll show you how right now!

What is because?

Because is a subordinating conjunction, which is a type of word that is used to join two clauses together. This is generally the reason we avoid starting the sentence with because. It’s also important to remember that the two clauses must be part of the same sentence; otherwise we can end up with fragmented sentences. This usually occurs because one of the clauses is dependent and therefore cannot stand alone.

How do you use because?

Because they matched my shoes.

This example clearly indicates why we would not usually start a sentence with because. If you’re starting a sentence with because, you need a main clause in the sentence, somewhere. A main clause can be a complete sentence by itself. The sentence example above is now meaningless without another sentence before it, or indeed after it, which could be linked with a because.

Putting because in the middle of a sentence requires there to be two parts of the sentence, or two clauses, in order for the structure to be correct. This creates a nice flow between the two clauses.

For example:

I chose to put on the red trousers because they matched my shoes.

The following example doesn’t work:

I chose to put on the red trousers. Because they matched my shoes.

In the first sentence, because cleanly links the two clauses clearly, making the sentence flow. Separating them in the second example outlines the issues and makes the second sentence completely incorrect; it’s a fragmented sentence again.

It doesn’t end there, though. We can start a sentence with because using the same overall sentence – but only if the dependent clause comes first. However, unlike when we put the dependent clause second, we need to put in a comma.

So, here’s the same sentence:

Because they matched my shoes, I chose to put on the red trousers.

There you have it! It might seem like a bit of a strange rule to have, but if you want to have readable, flowing sentences, it’s well worth following this rule. Now you know that you can actually use because at the start of a sentence, you might not be so restricted in your writing.

You should now also understand why those more obsessed with grammar are against using because at the start of a sentence – it’s simply to avoid those really awkward fragmented sentences that tend to happen. Of course, we could all simply be told from the get-go to write in complete sentences rather than being told that putting because at the start is wrong. It might save a lot of time. Then again, would we have listened anyway?

Practice those grammar rules

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